How ‘bug-eyed’ Pixar-style cars could help prevent road deaths

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NO MORE CREATIVE THAN A PENCIL

The researchers built a real vehicle prototype with robotic eyes, which they dubbed “gazing car”.

Pixar movie-style cars with eyes could prevent road deaths, according to a new study. The popular animated Cars films imagined a world where you could see where vehicles are looking.

However, University of Tokyo research suggests robotic eyes on autonomous vehicles could improve pedestrian safety – by showing if the car hasn’t noticed you. Participants played out scenarios in virtual reality (VR) and had to decide whether to cross a road in front of a moving vehicle or not.

When that vehicle was fitted with robotic eyes, which either looked at the pedestrian (registering their presence) or away (not registering them), the participants were able to make safer or more efficient choices. Unlike previous studies that showed that eyes can help pedestrians make faster street-crossing decisions, this study shows that it might be possible to reduce traffic accidents with eyes in some situations.

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